Candidate for Nominating Committee: Kelly Carter, MS, RN, NE-BC

 Kelly Carter

Kelly Carter, MS, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
Richmond, VA

Experience and Activities


Chapter Membership

  • Greater Richmond Area Chapter, 2001-present
    • President, 2009-2010, 2004-2005

AACN Commitment and Involvement, 2012 - present

Includes ways in which the candidate integrated the mission and work of AACN into her current role and practice. Local and national volunteer activities are listed, if applicable.

  • Chair, Awards Committee, Greater Richmond Area Chapter, 2011-present
  • Promote membership in GRAC-AACN
  • Reviewer, Evidence-based practice poster, 2014-2015
  • Speaker, Region 4 meeting, Chapter Success Through the Use of Merit Points, March 2013
  • Worked with bedside nurses on my unit at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCUHS) to achieve Silver-level Beacon Award
  • As nurse manager, actively promote AACN membership and the value of certification for staff RNs
  • Healthy work environment standards are the platform for care in the unit where I am a leader
  • In the last year, increased the number of staff who are PCCN certified in my unit

Key Professional Activities outside AACN, 2012 - present

Includes involvement with other professional organizations, teaching and/or speaking engagements

  • Member, VCUHS Safety Council, 2008-present. A forward-thinking group of health system leaders who lead VCUHS’s culture of transformation to become a high reliability organization with zero events of preventable harm
  • Member, Sigma Theta Tau International, 1989-present
  • Member, VCUHS Operational Leadership Council, 2014. This council’s purpose is to develop and execute the operational plan to achieve the vision of Patient Care Services in collaboration with the Interprofessional Governance Council; establish annual strategic goals for Patient Care Services; monitor and use clinical and operational outcomes to guide decisions; provide oversight and support of other operational councils; and promote a healthy work environment and relationship-based care.
  • Chair, Nurse Manager Council, VCUHS, 2012-2013. Led this 72-nurse manager peer council to achieve strategic goals of Patient Care Services
  • Ohler L, Schaeffer M, Carter K, George D. Inpatient transplant unit management. In: Kirk A, Knechtle S, Larsen CP, Pearson T, Madsen J, Webber S, eds. Textbook of Organ Transplantation. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons; 2014:1590-1517.

Issues Statement

Compassion fatigue was first identified in nursing in the 1950s. Compassion fatigue and burnout continue to negatively impact our nursing workforce. As nurses, we are always caring for others, both personally and professionally. Nurses are repeatedly exposed to stressful or emotionally charged situations, coupled with external and internal stressors.

Resilience is defined as the capacity to keep functioning physically and psychologically in the face of stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. Stress management techniques can equip nurses to be more self-aware, improve teamwork and increase their positive outlook and well-being, supporting a healthy work environment for patients and team members.

As nurses, we must put ourselves first on our list of priorities and proactively seek opportunities for self-care. Frequently, we fail to do this. Healthcare organizations must recognize the adverse impact of compassion fatigue on their workforce. They must support and provide the resources to facilitate nurses in the process of building resilience. Strategies such as practicing mindfulness, journal writing, promoting adequate sleep and practicing “three good things” daily will build resilience. However, on-site services such as debriefing sessions, quiet areas for relaxation activities, massages, etc., would promote immediate stress relief for staff. As an organization, AACN supports nurses to do their best work in environments that benefit patients and families.

It is my hope that AACN will continue to highlight and promote messaging for our members and our workforce to take care of self first. The nursing community must bring our creativity, commitment and passion together for the benefit of the patient and, ultimately, for ourselves as professionals. Our ability to self care effectively and successfully will sustain us to provide excellent nursing care to critically and acutely ill patients and their families.

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